I am terrible with getting birthday greeting cards to their recipients on time!
It’s a terrible flaw of mine.
Admittedly, I never FORGET the special day.
I honestly lift them or their special occasion – such as an anniversary- up in prayer on the appointed day.
However, I do FORGET to send the greeting through snail-mail.
Sometimes even MONTHS
until I embarrassingly send the proper acknowledgment.
So you should find it no surprise then, that I am a tidge late in celebrating with you a few recently missed special occasions – the feast days of a few of my personal MVP Saints!
Saint Monica, Saint Augustine, and Saint Mother Teresa of Calcutta.
(Not to worry,) I did pray for their intercession on their appointed Feast Days.
And I asked them to pray for me!
(Perhaps they will intercede on my behalf regarding my snail-mail forgetfulness.)
So, why are these four on my MVP list?
Well….St. Monica has been a strong role model for me since my earliest years of motherhood. A model of patience it was Monica’s example which taught me the power of fasting for others, most especially our children. Her tears, prayers, and sacrifices over many years helped bring about the conversion of her son, Augustine.
It is for this reason that fittingly, the feast of St. Monica occurs the day before the feast of her son, St. Augustine of Hippo. I’ve always felt it is lovely that their feasts are celebrated so close together!
St. Augustine was a brilliant and gifted young man, who at one time rejected the faith his mother had taught him. Augustine worked tirelessly for his people. He fought false religious teachings, protected the people from corrupt officials and invaders, and cared for the sick, the poor, and those in prison. His many sermons, letters, and books reflect the ever-deepening love he felt for God. He wisely observed:
“You have made us, O God, for yourself, and our hearts shall find no rest until they rest in you.”
Saint Mother Teresa had lived in India for years teaching at an all girls school in Calcutta. She knew how desperate the poor of that country were, especially in the big cities. It was these people, the dying poor, that Sister Teresa felt a special call to love. After all, these were people who had absolutely no one else in the world to love them. Not only were they poor, but they were also dying and rejected by most of the world.
Teresa saw these people differently. She saw them through God’s eyes, which means that she saw each of them as his dear child, suffering and yearning for some kind touch or word, some comfort in their last days on earth. She heard that call and chose to live it out—to let God love the forgotten ones through her charity. She is the mvp who has inspired me in my own charitable work to let God love others, through me.
The very special thing (to me) about these MVP (to me) Saints is they weren’t perfect.
As a young girl, Monica had a shocking experience. According to the custom of the time, her parents would ask her to bring up wine from the cellar for them. Once Monica took a sip of the wine before she brought it up. After that, she gradually began to drink just a little more each day. She thought no one knew about it. Then one day, Monica quarreled with a servant, and the servant accused her of drinking too much. Monica realized that the maid was right. This helped her to face this temptation. She decided then and there to stop drinking and she did.
Augustine excelled in school when he wanted to, but he also went with a bad crowd and got into many worthless activities. When he was older, he began living with a woman whom he never married, but who bore him a son. For a while, he also followed a heresy called Manichaeism. One day while Augustine prayed to be free from his sins, he heard a child’s voice chanting, “Take up and read.” Augustine opened the Bible and read the first thing his eyes fell upon, Romans 13:13-14, which told him to give up his life of sin. Augustine was baptized at Easter and began reforming his life.
What many don’t know about Saint Mother Teresa is that she spent the final decades of her life feeling an almost complete absence of God. When she was in her mid-30s, she experienced a rare spiritual grace: actually hearing the voice of God. This prompted her to devote her entire life to the “poorest of the poor.” But just a few years later, that closeness to God evaporated almost entirely. Some falsely concluded that she no longer believed in God. But there is a difference between not feeling God’s presence and not believing in God. In time, Mother Teresa began to understand the feeling of God’s absence as a way of identifying with Jesus’ feelings of abandonment on the cross and also as a way of entering more deeply into union with the poor, who also often feel abandoned.
Saints don’t have to be perfect. In fact, many are inspired by the ability of saints to do good despite their human flaws.
Saints have shown us that there is the possibility of living Godwardly in this life, however imperfectly we do it. Saints are simply people who have chosen to point their lives in what they believe is God’s direction.
I find comfort in this because, as our Catholic belief exhorts us, popes do not make people into saints; God does!
Which leads me to a great feeling of aspiration that despite my many flaws…
there’s indeed hope for me after all!
hugs n’ blessings for all the flaws we have which lead us to walk in the ways of Christ!